We’re 6 games from the end of season 4, and one thing still seems to confuse people; tactics. You would think that after more than 140 league matches, multiple NC and Tourny matches and countless friendlies, the issue of tactics would be more transparent.
It actually is! It’s within the people who play the game, around the community and in particular, on the PPM forums. Many managers have discovered the “Circle Of Countertactics” by simply asking. The most ironic thing though, is that there is no big secret to the choosing the right tactics. The information isn’t some super-secret scroll hidden away in a secret vault protected by Furies. It’s not even a semi-secret scribble on a piece of paper hidden under some managers desk. Heck, it’s not a secret at all. Many will try and keep this information hidden, but the fact of the matter is, after 4 seasons of PPM and numerous blogs and forum posts, it’s there for the public to see.
Most managers are well aware that Defense is the best tactic to defeat Offensive. That is logical, is it not? Many managers are also aware that to defeat someone using the Normal tactic you are best to use the “Breaking Up” tactic. This leaves just Defensive, CounterAttack, Active Forecheck, and the Breaking Up tactic to figure a way around. But let’s take a step back and break this down. Why does one beat another and why is there always 1 tactic that is the “perfect” countertactic to use? Here are are the 6 tactics, each with their countertactic and an explanation as to why I believe this is the case. We’ll start with the 2 we know.
Offensive: Defeated by Defense
This one is basic logic. If you want to shut down a highly offensive team, you play an equally good defensive game.
Normal: Defeated by Breaking Up
The normal tactic is thought of as the most balanced approach, neither offensive nor defensive. This style relies on an open game where a team can change tactics on the fly, play defense where needed and use momentum to its advantage. The key to shutting down a normal tactic is to stop the momentum, hense the Breaking Up tactic being the best option.
Breaking Up: Defeated by Counterattacks
As previously mentioned, the Breaking Up tactic uses starts and stops to break the momentum of a team. What you would want then, is a tactic that can use these attempted breaks in play to start an attack. Counterattack is that tactic. When the opposition tries to slow down the game by forcing an offside or freezing the puck, your team uses Counterattack to force penalties and turnovers, therefore giving you the puck to start an attack.
Counterattack: Defeated by Active Forecheck
This is possibly the tactic that people get most confused about. Well, this one and the next one. A team that uses counterattacks is never easy to beat because any error you make is often going to result in them getting the puck. You need to counter this with the opposite style of move. While they are waiting patiently for you to cause an error and give them the attack, you need to pressure them into doing the same. A good quality, solid forecheck is often enough to shut down any team looking for you to make an error. Take the game to them, and you should win.
Active Forecheck: Defeated by Offensive
We now know that a patient counterattack game is defeated by a puck pressured forecheck. But how do you beat a team that is putting the pressure on you? Playing a patient defensive game is going to play into their hands. Playing a hard forecheck game is counterproductive as that’s what they are doing to you. Instead, you need a tactic that is fast paced enough to keep up with them, but skilled enough to get around their defensively minded forechecking forwards. A solid offensive game is what you need.
Defensive: Defeated by Normal
Lastly we have the tactic that has won many teams championships over the years. The defensive tactic is a killer and that pesky neutral zone trap that helped the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars win games is a horrid beast to get around. At least, it is if you don’t play a solid all round game. If a team is playing defense most the game, you are going to want to play along with them, looking for gaps and finding their weaknesses. The Normal tactic, while the most balanced in the game (allegedly), is the best to use here.
This makes up the “Ring of Counter-Tactics”, as pictured here: Normal > Defensive > Offensive > Forechecking > Counterattacks > Breaking up > Normal
Note: There has data done to 99.99% prove these tactics are the best options. There are websites that have all the data, and no, before you ask I will not be sharing the link.
Next time you play a game, be sure to research your opponent and don’t be afraid to take some risks.